We live in a world of abundance. An ecosystem in balance is bursting with it, and all species within that ecosystem have a chance to thrive. As an environment changes, there are waves of trials that each creature must endure and work hard to overcome, but as the ecosystem reestablishes harmony, abundance is restored. Through this model, we, as humans, can learn to cultivate abundance in our lives and reestablish harmony with ourselves, each other, and our environment.
Lets examine closely at how abundance looks in an ecosystem to better understand how we can achieve it in our lives. Each organism within an ecosystem has a specific purpose and fills a certain niche (a specialized role within the whole). There is no waste in a healthy ecosystem; when a tree falls it becomes food for many insects and fungi, which in turn feed small animals, who are food for the larger animals and so on. This is called a food chain. Even an animal at the top of the food chain will eventually be consumed by those at the bottom of the chain. There are several different food chains in a single ecosystem and they often overlap. This collection of interconnected food chains is called a food web.
Every food chain begins with producers (plants that turn the sun’s energy into consumable energy), consumers (organisms that eat the plants), and decomposers (organisms that break down both producers and consumers releasing the minerals, organic matter, and chemicals back into the earth). The sun’s energy that is exchanged from one level of the food chain to the next is used up by consumers in digestion, growth, reproduction, and physical activity. Therefore, only about 10% of the energy from the sun is transferred to each level of the food chain. This creates a pyramid effect in an ecosystem, manifesting as far more organisms at the bottom than at the top. There are many more plants than panthers in the jungle. From plants taking in solar energy, to a grasshopper eating the plant, onto a frog eating the grasshopper, a snake consuming the frog, to an eagle eating the snake. Each organism receives energy from the next, and the amount of nourishment each receives from what they consume determines the population of the species. An ecosystem in harmony creates the perfect amount of food for those organisms within it and keeps the populations of each species in check. Every organism must work hard to thrive, whether that is gathering food, eating all that they need in a day, or hunting. If they do not get what they need they will die and the food that they can not eat goes to another organism. Balance in an ecosystem is achieved by an interconnected cooperation from each organism within the whole, all doing their part to maintain abundance.
When a foreign entity is introduced to the ecosystem it can throw the balance off and if organisms on the bottom of the food chain get diseased or disturbed, it will effect each of the other organisms in the ecosystem, even if the effects are not felt for a seemingly long time. Lets look at an example of this. A case in Lake Michigan began when many pelicans were dying from overdoses of DDT, a pesticides used in agricultural practices at the time. As it turned out the DDT washed off the fields and into the streams, which led into the lake. There it was consumed by phytoplankton, plant-like water organisms, which were eaten by small fish. The small fish accumulated the DDT in their bodies and were in turn eaten by larger fish, who accumulated even more DDT. By the time the pelicans ate several large fish there were lethal amounts of DDT accumulated in their bodies and they died. Therefore, the balance that creates abundance in an ecosystem, can be disturbed, yet when operating in harmony without foreign contaminates or organisms, there is enough for all.
It is true, however, that there is a limited amount of resources in each ecosystem, competition for those resources creates population balance, while cooperation within each organism and between different species leads to the whole system thriving. There are 2 examples that I would like to share. The first is the relationship between rooted plants and mycellium (better known as fungus). It has been documented that when a plant’s roots are intertwined with the mycellium webbing of fungus “roots”, the mycellium will actually sense what the plant needs, locate it within it’s network, and bring it to the plant in need. This is cooperation for thriving between species. The second example are that of cells. Cells are organisms onto themselves who learned to work together to form complex life forms, evolving into all forms of life on this planet. This is cooperation within organisms. It is true that many, many beings die often in an ecosystem, however, it is their death that feeds the others and it is in death that abundance can exist. Through cooperation, interdependence, energy exchange, and protection from contaminates we can live in abundance.
Let’s explore how we can create abundance in our lives through what we have learned from balanced ecosystems. We are all connected and cooperation is the key to success. We each have a specific role in this life, and there is competition within each niche which ensures that the whole can sustain itself. Energy exchange is how each being thrives and the closer we are to the source of energy the more of us can succeed and the more energy we get out of what we consume. Poisons that enter our networks or lives (physical, emotional, mental or spiritual) can threaten our abundance. Cooperation with each other can open doors of possibility beyond our greatest imagination. While cooperation between species can nourish us and bring us that which we lack. The foundation of abundance is firmly established in our health, which leads to our ability to thrive. Now we will look at these elements in relation to health, simplicity, and financial freedom.
Health stems from consuming diverse whole foods that are close to the source of solar energy, plants. As we are omnivores, eating other consumers (animals) is fine, however, it is important to remember that the farther away from the source of solar energy the less we get out of the food we consume and the more nature will work against our thriving. Again there are always less predators than prey. Also, processed food has already lost allot of that vital energy and therefore we are getting even less than 10% of the energy from the sun. There is another element of abundant health that we must touch on and that is contaminates that can enter the ecosystem of our body and create disharmony, threatening our well being. These contaminates are in many processed foods and used on allot of our food that is mass produced. So it is crucial for our health that we are aware of what we put into our bodies and buy organic produces when we can. Organic farming taps into agricultural methods that focus on cooperation with the environment and use many plants to fill several niches reducing the dependency on chemicals to ensure productivity. When we are conscious about what we put into our bodies we are setting the foundation for abundant health.
Simplicity is another key to achieving abundance. When our appetite for consuming is insatiable we can never live abundantly, because there is a limited amount of natural resources that we can tap before we throw the balance of the environment off. Once our environment is no longer in balance we can not thrive, as we are deeply connected to it, no matter how far from living in an ecosystem we think we may be. We need air to breath, plants to eat (ourselves or the animals we eat), and fresh clean water to drink. If we begin from those necessities and work our way up in regard to our desires we can better embody simplicity. The less we think we need the more we will realize the real needs we have in our lives. Cooperation with other people is a deep need for humans to be happy and abundant, again we all have specific roles to fill, no one of us has to do it all. When we simplify our lives we learn to work with other people and the environment in a way that provides enough for the whole.
Financial freedom has become a necessity for abundance in our modern world. We, as a species, have created an invisible structure, called an economy, that operates much like an ecosystem. We have attempted to leave our ecosystem and move into an economy, which is not sustainable, however it is very powerful because of its design, the human creative ability, and influence on our environment. When humans began controlling our food supply, we separated ourselves from the abundance of our ecosystem and took into our own hands our abundance. With cooperation with the plants, our environment, and each other we achieved something few other species had done, agriculture. This has positive and negative results. The positive was that we could create our own resources and thus were not at a lack. The negative is that it allowed us as a species to grow in population until we began to dominate the earth. Our creative potential also created more protection from the elements and predators, which turned into organized villages, towns, cities, factories, and corporations. The economy was created as a means to organize ourselves within our growing populations and infrastructure. Let us examine further how the economy is like an ecosystem.
An ecosystem has a food chain, so does an economy. The food chain goes like this; first plants, then those who grow the food and sell it, often to stores (though people can buy it direct through CSAs) or to manufacturers who process it somehow and package it, people buy it from the store, the stuff not sold is either thrown away or donated to those who can not afford to buy it. Another example is oil. It is drilled from the earth, shipped to factories where they make several products, one of which is gasoline for cars (another is plastic), that is then sold to another company who makes it into a specific product, then it is distributed to stores or gas stations, and finally bought by the consumers, then used up or thrown away. The amount of energy it takes to bring the product from one step to the next is expended in the form of money and it often costs allot, both financially and environmentally. An economy is interdependent on each level of the production of things and specific niches that people fill to make it work. The different niches are determined by external pressures (such as housing, food, cultural “necessities” or desires), similar to an ecosystem (based on food availability and bodily needs). Like an ecosystem, if one of the levels of the economy is disturbed it dramatically effects the whole, even if the signs aren’t seen for a long time. An economy also uses cooperation to keep it going, both between species (meat, plants) and within humans. Within an economy, each organism (person) must work hard to survive, or learn to cooperate to achieve more than one person can do on there own. And lastly, just as an ecosystem is shaped like a pyramid, so too is an economy, it is the wealthy, those who control the most resources and have other people working for them, that are on the top, and the middle class and the poor, those who consume the most without making much money, are underneath.
Achieving abundance in an economy can be difficult, but it is truly possible, especially in this day and age. What is financial abundance? It is the ability to afford that which you need and that which you want, it is being able to support projects you believe in and help other people. To become financially free, we must cooperate. Traditional corporate structures are not the most ideal for this, because the niches are so well defined that it takes many years of hard work to advance in pay. There is another business model that offers the fruits of cooperation to be reaped by any who work hard enough to earn financial abundance. Before we delve into what that structure is, let us first look at a traditional business model. It is shaped like a pyramid, with a CEO, president, vise-president, executive staff, management, and employees (more or less). Each niche in this structure is ridged and the possibility of advancement is low, even through the best cooperation. The cooerative structure is much the same, CEO, president, vise-president, executive staff, management, employees, and independent distributors. The niches are very specific and within them advancement into other niches is difficult, however within the independent distributors cooperation is greatly rewarded. The independent distributors fuel the advancement of the entire business and create complex “food webs” within the “ecosystem” of this business. The “food chain” in this model goes like this; the plants, then those who grow the plants, the processing of those plants (in this case very carefully to maintain the integrity of the solar source), the independent distributors (who are also consumers), then to the retail consumers. The “food web” lies in the different networks that are all distributing the products and they often overlap, but ultimately it is cooperation that generates the thriving financial abundance in each food chain. Rather than working hard and only being able to achieve the amount of work that 1 person can, the distributor works with teams of people who together generate much more. This is one of the main differences between the wealthy and the poor in an economy. These distributors are like the plants in their ability to thrive in an ecosystem, they are able to achieve financial abundance in great numbers within an economy, as self generating beings.
Ecosystems hold many gems of wisdom for achieving abundance in our lives from cooperation, interconnectedness, learning what roles we thrive in, being strengthened by competition, understanding energy exchange, to releasing and avoiding “poisons”, and embodying health, simplicity and financial freedom. We have the power to make a positive change in our lives and support the whole of our world through our actions, beliefs, awareness, discipline and cooperation. As we learn about our world we learn about ourselves. May your life be filled with abundance.
For more information on the cooperative business model, feel free to email Alana at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alana Bliss is a mother of 3 boys, all of whom were born at her house. She lives on an organic/permaculture farm in Costa Rica with her husband. Alana and Jason work from home and love to assist other people in realizing their highest potential. To learn more about how Alana generates an income from home visit www.everyday-sacred.com or check out their farm at www.fincafruicion.com
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